Cost to Charge an Electric Car in the UK

When it comes to vehicles, everyone’s talking about electric. But if you’re thinking of making the switch, it can feel like there’s still a lot of unanswered questions around charging. You may wonder how much it costs to charge your car at home, or how you charge up when you’re out and about. In fact, this issue is often one of the biggest barriers to electric car ownership for many people. We’re all very conscious of our electricity use these days, and not many of us want to voluntarily add a huge amount on to our energy bills, even if we are making a saving on petrol or diesel. So, how much does owning and running an electric vehicle really cost? How often do you need to charge your car? And what are the options if your living situation restricts the installation of a charging port?

Charging Your Electric Car At Home

The electric revolution has well and truly begun. With motorists feeling increasingly environmentally aware and many governments across the world making moves to outlaw fossil fuelled cars in the not-so-distant future, it’s a topic we’re all going to be hearing a lot more about. Electric cars are fitted with special long-range batteries designed to be powered up at home or out and about. The most common method of charging is usually at home. And if you’re worried about your bills suddenly shooting up, don’t be – charging your electric vehicle, or EV, at home is not as costly as you might think.

Charging Your Electric Car At Home

Although each charge is different, due to the fact that we are all on different energy tariffs, research indicates that the average cost of a full charge is around £3.64 – much more cost effective than a tank of petrol. Many homeowners opt for a wall-mounted home charging point, or you can also use a standard 3-pin domestic plug with an EVSE cable. You do have to pay for the cost of a charging point yourself, but there are currently grants available via the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) that cover around 75% of the costs. Although the costs of a full charge are lower than you might have thought, the range of the car will determine how far a single charge will take you, and how good a deal you get. It’s also worth shopping around to make sure you’re on the best electric deal you can find before you make the switch to an electric vehicle.

Charging Your Electric Car At Work

Charging Your Electric Car At Work

Of course, many people find it more convenient to charge their electric car during the day while they work – and that means figuring out charging at your workplace. This cost can vary a lot –  some employers provide free charging points as a form of staff incentive while others may have a chargeable fixed price. Other workplaces will opt for a time-charged model, usually to encourage employees to share charging points, especially if they are a large company with a lot of drivers. As more and more employees turn to hybrid or fully electric cars, more workplaces will offer charging points due to demand, especially as they may be in the process of changing over their fleet cars to electric models.

Charging Your Electric Car In Public

Charging Your Electric Car In Public

Another option is topping up your car’s battery while you’re out and about. Many locations, such as shopping complexes and supermarkets are beginning to offer charging points as an incentive to draw customers in. Or there are dedicated on-street charging ports in some locations as well. The easiest way is to use an app to locate charge points near to your destination. It’s getting more common to be able to pay seamlessly through an app, but some older charging networks require a particular card to be used, which you can order online. As technology becomes more commonplace, things begin to standardize and become easier to use. 

How Much Does It Cost To Charge My Car Rapidly?

Sometimes, time is a factor and you don’t want to wait around. In this case, Rapid Charging is your friend. Fast charging is available both at home and out and about. To take advantage at home, you will need some specialist equipment and wiring. This will help you to install a dedicated charger with a 3.6kW power output with 16 Amps single-phase AC power. You can also access rapid charging at public access points. Rapid chargers tend to be installed at motorway service stations and supermarkets, and are more expensive to use. You’ll be looking at around £6.00 – £7.00 for a 30 minute charge, which usually gives about 100 miles of range. However, a lot depends on the electric vehicle you go for.

For example, Tesla  provides its own network of charge points across the UK which are free for owners. Most of the time, you won’t need the rapid charging option, as you can usually charge your car overnight or during the working day at much lower cost and with no loss of convenience. Rapid charging facilities come into their own when you need to make a longer journey. In those cases, it’s wise to plan your journey with a rapid charging point stop to make sure that your vehicle has enough power to make it to your destination.

How Much Will I Pay For An Electric Car?

There is a huge variety in the range of cars that now come with an electric engine option – everything from an entry level small hatchback such as a Nissan Leaf to large luxury SUVs like the Jaguar i-Pace or Porsche Cayenne. More and more models of car are becoming available with electric engines, and this will only continue to grow in line with customer demand and regulatory expectations. Generally speaking, whatever model you go for, you can expect to pay more for an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel-run equivalent.

However, there are currently government grants available to subsidise the purchase cost – up to a maximum of £3,000 for a pure-electric model. This applies to cars up to £50,000 and is applied through the dealership, so you don’t need to make an application yourself. If the high purchase price is still a barrier, then leasing an electric vehicle can be an easier way in. You get a clear monthly cost which you can compare to fossil-fuel equivalents, and you’ll also be able to upgrade to a newer model in a three year cycle. As technology developments are happening rapidly in the EV sector, this can mean significantly better performance and features in newer models, so upgrading is more appealing.

What Are The Running Costs For An Electric Car?

As well as the cost to charge a car at home or the cost to charge at public points, there are other financial factors to take into consideration if you’re serious about purchasing an electric car. In fact, there are some significant financial incentives that can really help to reduce the running cost of an electric car:

  • Zero Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax)
  • Zero-rated fuel tax
  • Incentives for company car drivers
  • Exemption from Congestion Charge for those who regularly drive in central London
  • Ultra Low Emission Discount Scheme (ULED)

When all these are taken into consideration, on top of any promotional scheme the car dealership may be running, it starts to look a lot more cost-effective. This can help to offset the slightly higher purchase price, especially when set against savings on fuel costs and government grants for purchase. The current car tax system in the UK is geared towards encouraging drivers to make the switch, with zero-emissions electric vehicles paying no road tax for the First Year Rate or Standard Rate. In the latest Budget for 2020, it was also announced that pure electric cars would also be exempt from the Premium Rate applied to cars above £40,000 as well. Most electric vehicles are becoming highly efficient, meaning fuel costs can now be as low as 3p per mile. That’s compared to an average petrol fuel cost of 9p per mile. Taking into account the average annual mileage of 10,000 it’s likely that going from a conventional vehicle to an electric one could save around £800 a year in fuel costs alone. You could also be paying up to £1000 a year in road tax which is back in your pocket when you make the switch to electric.

What Other Tax Incentives Are There For Driving An Electric Car?

There are some other monetary perks to an electric vehicle – company car tax is much lower for drivers of EVs, potentially saving business users thousands of pounds a year. Company car drivers of an electric vehicle currently pay no company car tax until 2021, then just 1 per cent until 2022. And if it’s a personal vehicle then you can also save when it comes to maintenance. While petrol and diesel engines are made of hundreds of small components which can fail and cause problems, electric cars only have three main components and far less moving parts than you’ll find in even the most basic combustion engine. Servicing an electric car and maintaining the engine is much simpler and a lot less expensive – which means more money saved for you. 

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